The World in One's Pocket?

Posted by Eva_and_Franco_Mattes | Fri Dec 13th 2002 1 a.m.

>From "Springerin", Oct 2002 > http://www.springerin.at

The World in One's Pocket?

The Net project "VOPOS" by 0100101110101101.ORG

by Vera Tollmann

In December of last year, the European Union and the European Space
Organisation agreed to set up a European venture as competition for the
American Global Positioning System (GPS) by 2005. The non-military
system "Galileo" is to consist of 30 satellites and cover the entire
globe. [1] The EU argues that this decision is aimed at making it
independent of the GPS - which is still used for military purposes - by
giving it its own surveillance complex. The end users of this
geographical location system are to include customs and the judiciary,
transport and communications authorities, and tourism organisations. On
May 1 the White House in Washington announced that "SA" (Selective
Availability), which caused civilian equipment to give more imprecise
results, would no longer operate. These two decisions show what a
central role satellite systems will play, or already play, in everyday
life, alongside the telecommunications systems of telephone and
internet.

These developments, leading towards an ever more perfect universal
surveillance method, have not gone without comment from activists [2]
and artists. Whereas at the end of the nineties there were mainly
reactions to the - in some cases - extremely extensive installation of
video cameras in public places, [3] a new technological paradigm of
media art is now starting to emerge. Besides Web-based works about the
surveillance of data transfers, [4] the first artists have already begun
working with the GPS, such as the documenta participants tsunamii.net.
This involves a Web-related approach: tsunamii.net looked for
correspondences on the Web to the real places they passed on their
travels. The focus is on an alternative mapping of the internet.

The current project by 0100101110101101.org, which has the awkward name
"VOPOS" - a reference to former East German police as representatives of
a historical surveillance state that shows little more than a "radical
chic aesthetic" -, also functions partly via GPS. Tanio Copechi and
Renato Pasiopani, as the operators of 0100101110101101.org call
themselves, carry a GPS transmitter around with them. It sends the data
it receives to a server via mobile phone, and this data is then
visualised on the web site by means of software. With the aid of a
digital street map of Barcelona, which is where the two Italian artists
claim to be, users can see which street they are in - whether just one
or both of them is an open question. The clock can also be turned back -
this means it is possible to vaguely reconstruct the route taken through
the city by the "surveillees". But "VOPOS" has nothing to do with a
sociological interest in the erratic wanderings of everyday life, as the
situationist approach would suggest; it is a criticism of the potential
of the GPS: who uses the coordinates it provides, and what does the
electronic profile that can be deduced from them reveal?

The two artists do not just illustrate the way the GPS functions within
a larger communications complex; their artist strategy is also expressed
in their refusal to give their identity and provide a level of narrative
that could explain why they visit the places they do (unless someone
knows the city very well and thus has options for interpretation). It is
equally impossible to verify whether they really were at the positions
marked or not. "VOPOS" therefore also remains a game involving reality
and fiction, information and disinformation. For a knowledge of the way
the system could potentially function suffices to enable one to
critically take up the surveillant's perspective. As the second part of
the long-term project "Glasnost", "VOPOS" continues the planned
collection of comprehensive, person-specific data. The first phase -
which still exists on the web site - consisted in the project
"life_sharing". [5] 0100101110101101.org put the local hard disk of
their computer onto the Web, thus making their private e-mails, project
sketches and software publicly available.

What is the artistic added value of this project? To what extent is it
only a preparation for something that can be commercially exploited
later? After the experiences with the "Big Brother" series, a similar
scenario using GPS technology would also be imaginable: one group - the
surveillants - has to hinder another group - the "surveillees" - in
carrying out the game task allotted to them. "VOPOS" operates precisely
at the ambivalent point between affirmative slogans like that of one
mobile phone manufacturer - "Put the world in your pocket" -, and the
non-commercial production of transparency.

Translation: Tim Jones

Notes:

http://0100101110101101.ORG

1 http://europa.eu.int/comm/energy_transport/de/gal_de.html (Galileo
homepage)
http://www.heise.de/newsticker/data/dz-01.12.01-003 (Report on the
decision in favour of Galileo, 1 December 2001)

2 http://www.bigbrotherawards.at

3 See the Surveillance Camera Players:
http://www.notbored.org/the-scp.html

4 See the Software Carnivore: http://rhizome.org/carnivore

5 See Marina Grzinic: "Das Leben zuruckgewinnen". In: springerin 1/01,
p. 10

###

Anything has been said about this renegade cyber-entity, accused of
being "simple thief", dubbed as "media dandy" and "cultural
terrorists" or, simply, "shit". 0100101110101101.ORG prdouced some of
the most perfect media exploits of the last years, such as the
creation and diffusion, at the opening of the 49th Venice Biennial, of
the computer virus "biennale.py" or the memorable spoof of the
Vatican website: almost identical with that of the Holy See, but with
slight deviations. HTTP://0100101110101101.ORG
  • Renato Posapiani | Fri Dec 13th 2002 1 a.m.
    >From "Springerin", Oct 2002 > http://www.springerin.at

    The World in One's Pocket?

    The Net project "VOPOS" by 0100101110101101.ORG

    by Vera Tollmann

    In December of last year, the European Union and the European Space
    Organisation agreed to set up a European venture as competition for the
    American Global Positioning System (GPS) by 2005. The non-military
    system "Galileo" is to consist of 30 satellites and cover the entire
    globe. [1] The EU argues that this decision is aimed at making it
    independent of the GPS - which is still used for military purposes - by
    giving it its own surveillance complex. The end users of this
    geographical location system are to include customs and the judiciary,
    transport and communications authorities, and tourism organisations. On
    May 1 the White House in Washington announced that "SA" (Selective
    Availability), which caused civilian equipment to give more imprecise
    results, would no longer operate. These two decisions show what a
    central role satellite systems will play, or already play, in everyday
    life, alongside the telecommunications systems of telephone and
    internet.

    These developments, leading towards an ever more perfect universal
    surveillance method, have not gone without comment from activists [2]
    and artists. Whereas at the end of the nineties there were mainly
    reactions to the - in some cases - extremely extensive installation of
    video cameras in public places, [3] a new technological paradigm of
    media art is now starting to emerge. Besides Web-based works about the
    surveillance of data transfers, [4] the first artists have already begun
    working with the GPS, such as the documenta participants tsunamii.net.
    This involves a Web-related approach: tsunamii.net looked for
    correspondences on the Web to the real places they passed on their
    travels. The focus is on an alternative mapping of the internet.

    The current project by 0100101110101101.org, which has the awkward name
    "VOPOS" - a reference to former East German police as representatives of
    a historical surveillance state that shows little more than a "radical
    chic aesthetic" -, also functions partly via GPS. Tanio Copechi and
    Renato Pasiopani, as the operators of 0100101110101101.org call
    themselves, carry a GPS transmitter around with them. It sends the data
    it receives to a server via mobile phone, and this data is then
    visualised on the web site by means of software. With the aid of a
    digital street map of Barcelona, which is where the two Italian artists
    claim to be, users can see which street they are in - whether just one
    or both of them is an open question. The clock can also be turned back -
    this means it is possible to vaguely reconstruct the route taken through
    the city by the "surveillees". But "VOPOS" has nothing to do with a
    sociological interest in the erratic wanderings of everyday life, as the
    situationist approach would suggest; it is a criticism of the potential
    of the GPS: who uses the coordinates it provides, and what does the
    electronic profile that can be deduced from them reveal?

    The two artists do not just illustrate the way the GPS functions within
    a larger communications complex; their artist strategy is also expressed
    in their refusal to give their identity and provide a level of narrative
    that could explain why they visit the places they do (unless someone
    knows the city very well and thus has options for interpretation). It is
    equally impossible to verify whether they really were at the positions
    marked or not. "VOPOS" therefore also remains a game involving reality
    and fiction, information and disinformation. For a knowledge of the way
    the system could potentially function suffices to enable one to
    critically take up the surveillant's perspective. As the second part of
    the long-term project "Glasnost", "VOPOS" continues the planned
    collection of comprehensive, person-specific data. The first phase -
    which still exists on the web site - consisted in the project
    "life_sharing". [5] 0100101110101101.org put the local hard disk of
    their computer onto the Web, thus making their private e-mails, project
    sketches and software publicly available.

    What is the artistic added value of this project? To what extent is it
    only a preparation for something that can be commercially exploited
    later? After the experiences with the "Big Brother" series, a similar
    scenario using GPS technology would also be imaginable: one group - the
    surveillants - has to hinder another group - the "surveillees" - in
    carrying out the game task allotted to them. "VOPOS" operates precisely
    at the ambivalent point between affirmative slogans like that of one
    mobile phone manufacturer - "Put the world in your pocket" -, and the
    non-commercial production of transparency.

    Translation: Tim Jones

    Notes:

    http://0100101110101101.ORG

    1 http://europa.eu.int/comm/energy_transport/de/gal_de.html (Galileo
    homepage)
    http://www.heise.de/newsticker/data/dz-01.12.01-003 (Report on the
    decision in favour of Galileo, 1 December 2001)

    2 http://www.bigbrotherawards.at

    3 See the Surveillance Camera Players:
    http://www.notbored.org/the-scp.html

    4 See the Software Carnivore: http://rhizome.org/carnivore

    5 See Marina Grzinic: "Das Leben zuruckgewinnen". In: springerin 1/01,
    p. 10

    ###

    Anything has been said about this renegade cyber-entity, accused of
    being "simple thief", dubbed as "media dandy" and "cultural
    terrorists" or, simply, "shit". 0100101110101101.ORG prdouced some of
    the most perfect media exploits of the last years, such as the
    creation and diffusion, at the opening of the 49th Venice Biennial, of
    the computer virus "biennale.py" or the memorable spoof of the
    Vatican website: almost identical with that of the Holy See, but with
    slight deviations. HTTP://0100101110101101.ORG
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